Continued from Part 1 here.
Couldn’t ask for more than what this guy has given us over the past few seasons. Last year in particular it was looking like the center position would be a huge weakness after the departures of Al Horford and Aron Baynes. Instead, Theis ended up being a hidden gem that gave the team very solid minutes from a modern big on a bargain contract. Between Theis, Kanter, and a few creative lineups, the Celtics really didn’t miss a beat until the playoffs (when matchups with guys like Embiid and Adebayo would have been difficult for any center).
As others have noted, it is worth noting the fact that Theis will be a free agent after this season. If he has a year anything like the one he just had, the man is going to get paid next year. The Celtics seem to be holding to the theory that center by committee (3 guys making under $25M instead of one guy making $25M) is the most efficient way to build out a roster (especially when your guards and wings cost so much). Just something to keep an eye on as the trade deadline rolls around.
Which brings us to Thompson. This one feels weird just because we spent so much time rooting against him, but he always had our respect. He’s a classic “I hate that guy because he’s on the other team but I’d love him if he was on my team” kind of guy. And now he is!
First day on the job and he’s talking about being like Marcus Smart except as a big man. And he’s a veteran with championship experience. And he was a Celtics fan back in the day. And he doesn’t need the ball to be effective. And he can defend all over the court.
Great pickup Danny.
Robert Williams III
About the only downside to adding Thompson is that Timelord’s minutes could be squeezed. Then again, I feel like all in all there will be minutes to go around. The War on Theis makes sure that Daniel will find himself in foul trouble a lot. Injuries and illness is something the whole league is going to have to deal with more than we’d like to think about. I don’t know if there’s going to be such a thing as “too much depth” this year.
Here’s hoping that Williams can stay healthy and gain the trust of the coaching staff too. Of course he’s going to continue making mistakes, but he’s also going to give us a dimension that few other human beings on the planet can provide. I hope he gets his share of minutes to work through some of those mistakes and give us some highlight reels along the way.
Board(game) man gets paid. I just don’t know if I’m ready to put him in the starting lineup.
I’m a big fan. In fact, there’s a pretty good chance that I’ve gotten a little carried away with how good Grant is right now. After all, he was still a rookie a couple of months ago and he has to prove he’s better offensively. But I can’t help but be excited about a heady guy that has good fundamentals and instincts.
When I close my eyes and picture championship teams of the past, there’s always a handful of guys that aren’t stars but fill in gaps at an elite level. James Posey and Udanis Haslem come to mind. Not necessarily making playstyle comps, just thinking of guys that provide that extra little something a great team needs to maximize their potential. I feel like that’s the kind of impact Grant could provide eventually. Just trying not to put too much pressure on him to do it right away.
If I’ve hyped up Grant too much, I’ve probably been too low on Ojeleye lately. The guy plays defense and has at times shot well enough to keep defenses honest. He doesn’t offer a ton on offense beyond nominal floor spacing, but he’s not going to be out there making rookie mistakes either. There’s not a lot of depth on the roster at the moment at the wings and Semi very well could get good rotation minutes.
I think I’ll pause there and finish out the rest of the young players and bench options in Part 3.